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Ernie Ball VP Jr and Tone Suck, what ideas do you have?
Ernie Ball VP Jr and Tone Suck, what ideas do you have?
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Old 18th November 2019, 04:28 PM   #51
Adam Reed is offline Adam Reed  United States
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Craig Anderton's book is still the go-to for simple but great basic guitar electronics projects! There's a state-variable filter in that book that's pretty fantastic for guitar use.
At one point maybe 35 years ago I took the book to work, photocopied quite a few of the PC board layout pages, and made maybe a dozen boards in a couple days when work was slow. Sill have some of them, like the opto-coupler phaser.
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Old 19th November 2019, 05:54 PM   #52
IceFyre13th is offline IceFyre13th  United States
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Join Date: May 2013
Location: AZ, you know where the car audio companies are.
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Originally Posted by Adam Reed View Post
Craig Anderton's book is still the go-to for simple but great basic guitar electronics projects! There's a state-variable filter in that book that's pretty fantastic for guitar use.
At one point maybe 35 years ago I took the book to work, photocopied quite a few of the PC board layout pages, and made maybe a dozen boards in a couple days when work was slow. Sill have some of them, like the opto-coupler phaser.

Did a google search, found......


The Projects | General Guitar Gadgets


Thanks!!!!!
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Old 19th November 2019, 07:35 PM   #53
Adam Reed is offline Adam Reed  United States
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The book I have is Electronic Projects for Musicians by Craig Anderton.
It's still available at Amazon and very reasonably priced at between 20 and 26 dollars.
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Old 19th November 2019, 08:46 PM   #54
IceFyre13th is offline IceFyre13th  United States
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Location: AZ, you know where the car audio companies are.
And downloadable from Michigan State University..................again simple google search
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Old 20th November 2019, 09:16 PM   #55
Gnobuddy is offline Gnobuddy  Canada
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Originally Posted by IceFyre13th View Post
And downloadable from Michigan State University..................again simple google search
Thanks for the tip! (And thanks to Adam Reed for bringing up the book.)

Decades ago when I was a penurious college student, I bought my own copy of Anderton's book with money I really couldn't afford to spend. Much later, when I left Los Angeles to move to Canada, I gave it to a young man interested in both music and electronics.

Personally, I have yet to hear a solid-state distortion circuit that doesn't transition abruptly from too-clean to too-harsh (to my ears.) There are a few that do a good job of mimicking a heavily overdriven Marshall-like valve guitar amp (itself a rather harsh sound, until tamed with reverb and/or delay). But I've never come across one that generates the smooth singing, dynamic, subtle, ever-changing distortion of a great valve amp balanced on the cusp between clean and overdriven timbres. Nor have I been able to design my own.

For me, that would be the "holy grail" of overdrive pedals. And it doesn't seem to exist yet, despite the hundreds and hundreds of dirt-boxes out there, 99% of which are minor variations on the same logarithmic diode-clipping scheme.

-Gnobuddy
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Old 20th November 2019, 09:36 PM   #56
Adam Reed is offline Adam Reed  United States
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Yep I'm with you, Gnobuddy. But I struggled for years to get the tone the way I like it from my old mongrel Tele, and the multi parametric EQ in Anderton's book was one of the first tools that really worked for me. Now I use solid state stuff like my clone of an EP booster to finesse the tone and get the front end of my tubed practice amp to overdrive ever so sweetly!

I am so lucky to live in the same small town (Ashland, Oregon) as Jeff Pevar, who tours with David Crosby and is a master player. He has holds house concerts every few months, and I get to sit right up close so I can watch his fingering like a hawk. During intermission he lets me go up and take photos of his pedal board. That's how I discovered the EP booster, a sweet pedal.
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Old 20th November 2019, 11:36 PM   #57
Gnobuddy is offline Gnobuddy  Canada
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...parametric EQ...EP booster...front end of my tubed practice amp to overdrive...
I used to use a Danelectro Fish-n-Chips 7 band EQ pedal in front of my Princeton Reverb reissue for more or less the same purpose.

The Fish-n-Chips has an adjustable clean boost built in, and I found the combination of EQ and clean gain incredibly useful. It worked best with my Squier Standard Strat, which has rather low-output pickups that are too wimpy to make the amp sound "tubey" on their own.

It may be that the 2N5457 JFET in the EP Booster is adding a little second-harmonic, though, which the Fish-n-Chips doesn't do. I think I still have a few 2n5457s in the junk-box...but I really don't need another project right now!

Funny thing - I got myself a solid-state Boss Katana 50 a few months ago. Before the Katana, every single solid-state electric guitar amp and DSP modelling thingy I've ever tried has been yucky, some more, some less, but always yucky. But the Katana is a milestone for me: set to my musical tastes, it sounds more "valvey" than my Princeton Reverb ever did, no Fish-n-Chips necessary.

To top it off, the Katana makes an excellent acoustic guitar amp, too. Now I have one less heavy box to lug to jams.

The worst thing about the Katana is that it has really reduced my motivation to keep trying to build my own guitar amps and pedals, because the bloody thing sounds so good on it's own!


-Gnobuddy
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Old 21st November 2019, 06:57 PM   #58
IceFyre13th is offline IceFyre13th  United States
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Originally Posted by Gnobuddy View Post

The worst thing about the Katana is that it has really reduced my motivation to keep trying to build my own guitar amps and pedals, because the bloody thing sounds so good on it's own!


-Gnobuddy

And now they released the Katana II's.......just might find room for a Katana II 100 watt single 12 to go with my Katana 50. I find it an amazing amp as well.



A second amp would be nice for home jams when someone comes (who just happened to forget to bring their own guitar....lol) over and want to play along.


Still working on the "Big Baby" (what I call my Wah mod). It will be a Cry-Baby V847 circuit with a few additions. I am adding three user adjustments to it.


1. A mid-range tone control, this will add a little more mid boost (think 1 channel EQ).
2. A gain control, to add extra sustain if needed. This will drive the effect circuit harder.

3. Vocal control, make wah sound like woh.


These will be based upon the mods listed here, Vox and Crybaby Wah Mods


Some trim pots added to those areas in the circuit will make the sound tailored to the players rig.


I will add a switch to change from Guitar to Bass Wah also (sweep range).



Also adding in true bypass, switchable to buffered bypass.


More later............




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Old 21st November 2019, 10:33 PM   #59
Gnobuddy is offline Gnobuddy  Canada
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I skimmed through Anderton's book last night. Wow, a lot has changed since 1979 (that's the date on one of the PCB images)!

On the plus side, the first few chapters of the book are a fantastic resource for people just getting started on their quest to build their first-ever solid-state electronics project. We get quite a few newbie questions here on diyAudio, and now we have a well written, and professionally edited, resource that we can point them at. (There's even a section on how to mount a PCB into a case!)

On the minus side, most of the projects in the book have not aged well. There is not much demand for "treble booster" guitar pedals any more, thank goodness. Mercifully, there's even less demand for an "extreme fuzz" that uses the guitar signal to toggle a Schmidt Trigger, spitting out rail-to-rail rectangular waves with absolutely no dynamics whatsoever.

Other projects are no longer viable because the special semiconductors used in them are no longer available. The chromatic reference tone generator is an example, as it uses a Mostek top octave generator chip to generate the twelve notes in the chromatic scale. Not only has the era of the top octave generator chip faded into history, Mostek shut down 34 years ago, in 1985: MOSTEK, BIG CHIP MAKER, SHUT - The New York Times

Still other projects reflect very different views on how guitar electronics should be built, views which one presumes have changed during the last four decades. For example, there are a number of projects with what I would consider alarmingly low input impedances, all the way down to 47k in some cases.

Perhaps these were never intended to be first in the guitar signal chain - I hope so, because a 47k load does pretty bad things to the sound of an electric guitar with conventional passive electromagnetic pickups. Imagine, the "tone-suck" from a 250k passive volume pedal spawned this entire thread - how much worse would things have been with a 47k input impedance?

And let's not forget the projects built into expensive modular rack-mount cases. Ah yes, the 1980s were beckoning, the era of rack-mount solid-state guitar electronics, utterly horrid guitar tone, horrible songs filled with horrible synth and drum-machine sounds, and shrieking high-pitched male singers, most of whom did so much self-inflicted damage to their vocal chords that they lost their singing voices for good within a few years. Evolution did not design the male vocal apparatus to shriek loudly in the female soprano register.

There are a few still-viable projects in there, though, like the guitar compressor. You'd have to substitute a home-brewed LED and LDR coupler for the original photoresistive optocoupler device, but that's not a huge challenge (yet; LDRs don't meet ROHS standards, and are on the road to extinction.)

Re-reading the book was an interesting trip back down memory lane, but I remember now why I built very few projects from it.


-Gnobuddy
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Old 22nd November 2019, 05:19 PM   #60
IceFyre13th is offline IceFyre13th  United States
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Originally Posted by Gnobuddy View Post
Perhaps these were never intended to be first in the guitar signal chain - I hope so, because a 47k load does pretty bad things to the sound of an electric guitar with conventional passive electromagnetic pickups. Imagine, the "tone-suck" from a 250k passive volume pedal spawned this entire thread - how much worse would things have been with a 47k input impedance?

Re-reading the book was an interesting trip back down memory lane, but I remember now why I built very few projects from it.

-Gnobuddy

Good point on the input impedance of other "pedals". Something we cannot assume the other engineer thought of when designing his.


With that in-mind, and looking at how the Wah pedals output impedance varies depending upon the pedal position....its going to be a good idea to place an output buffer in circuit. I think a simple JFET transistor one will do. This should help prevent any weirdness happening due to an unknown later on in the signal chain.


On the subject of the "Holy Grail" inductors. I think it may be possible that there maybe a little less psychobabble and a little science could be involved.


I have an actual Fasel Red in my collection (where from, who knows....probably a salvaged one from way back), and a "Halo" (yeah bobbin core). The Fasel is actually a toroid inductor, while the halo is a bobbin core. So maybe there is something going on that makes a difference.


I have both, so I can try both......we shall see.....but we will probably end up with Shrubbery...


And yes, bouncing back into yesteryear by reading old project books can be very entertaining......even looking at some of the stuff I designed back in my Car Audio days.....bad engineer, no biscuit
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